*Book provided by Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.
Zachary Lightman is a high school senior whose dad died when he was a baby and he spends most of his days either playing video games or working at a video game store. Imagine his surprise when a spaceship that looks exactly like his ship in the video game Armada shows up at his high school to take him away. Turns out, some of the most popular video games over the years are actually simulations for actual encounters with aliens who are threatening to take out the world. And the aliens have just stepped up their game.
I'll admit, I got more caught up in this story than I thought I would. A big part of this is probably the fast pace that begins in Chapter 7. The majority of this book takes place in the span of 8-10 hours. There's always something for Zack to be doing, so there's always something to be reading.
Probably another reason I got caught up iin this book is the characters. Yes, one or two tropes are in the book, but I loved that Cline showed that gaming can, and does, transcend things like race, gender, age, economics, etc. One character is kinda the stereotypical, lives-in-his-mom's-basement gamer, but then another of the top ten players is a Christian mother of three from Minnesota,
Most importantly, I appreciate how much common sense and critical thinking Cline gave the characters, especially Zack. So many books don't live up to their potential because their teenage characters are the stereotypical act-now-think-later types. Yes, Zack has moments of this, but I appreciate that he picks up on the inconsistencies with the EDA's stories and the aliens' actions. I like that Cline has his characters discuss/argue about these as well. It made me feel like I didn't have to smack some common sense into any of them.
Personally, I'm not sure this book is for me. I appreciated several of the references, but I'm just not that much of a Sci-Fi geek, especially 70's and 80's Sci-Fi. That being said, I told my mother about some of the references and it led to a nice discussion.* So I'm going to loan her, an original Sci-Fi fan, the book and see what she thinks.
Still, I have no problems giving Armada by Ernest Cline 4 hoots. It was engaging, fun, and geek centric.
*Did you know Jaws 3D was a thing? Wasn't a good thing, apparently, but it was still a thing.